Imatges de pÓgina

in the year between June 1820 and 1821, the Bishop administered the apostolic rite of Confirmation to eight hundred and thirty-six persons; and consecrated two Churches. A Society has recently been instituted in this Diocese, for the promotion of Christian Knowledge; the great objects of which are to distribute the Bible gratuitously to the poor, to disseminate the Book of Common Prayer, and Religious Tracts, and also to support Missionaries. In his Charge to the Convention, held at Waterbury, June 6th and 7th, 1821, the Bishop bears the following testimony to the character of his Clergy.

"Brethren, I have now visited nearly all the parishes in this diocese. Every where I have been received with a kindness and an interest highly gratifying to my feelings. Concerning the general prosperity of the Church, it may be difficult to decide with confidence; but from the best observations and inquiries which I have been able to make, her friends have no reason to despond. She seems to be gradually enlarging her borders, and strengthening her stakes,' while, at the same time, there appears to be an increasing degree of piety and zeal among her members. Her clergy are every where zealous and faithful. I make this observation with the more satisfaction, as I have formerly heard them charged from abroad with coldness and indifference. Nothing but ignorance, or gross prejudice, could have suggested the imputation. It is my full conviction, that if there exists, in any part of our country, a body of elergy who, by their labours and privations, their industry and fidelity, approach to the model of the primitive ages of the church, such men are to be found among the episcopal clergy of Connecticut. To ensure the continued prosperity and advancement of the Church, nothing is wanting, with the blessing of Heaven, but the continued zeal and perseverance of her friends. There is nothing in the circumstances of the times, which can warrant a relaxation of either. On the contrary, the excitement with regard to religion, which seems to prevail through the greater part of the State, furnishes ground to the friends of the Church for the exercise of a more especial degree of vigilance. From the clergy, in a particular manner, it calls for increased watchfulness and zeal. The present is certainly a period when people, in general, are more disposed than usual, to attend to the concerns of religion. Not that we have reason to believe there is any special effusion of the Spirit of God, in any particular region: but the excitement which has been raised in the community, has led people to give, more heed to those ordinary influences of the Holy Spirit, and to those ordinary means of grace, which are at all times dispensed in such measure as to enable all, who will co-operate with them, to work out their salvation, through the merits of the Redeemer. But if the people are disposed to hear, and to inquire, whatever may be the cause, it is the especial duty of the clergy to warn and to in

struct. More especially is this their duty, at the present period, that they may guard their flocks from the delusions and errors of ignorant teachers, and lead the inquiring mind to just and rational views of that way of salvation revealed in the gospel.”—Gospel Advocate, October, 1821, p. 314.

Upon the whole, the greatest harmouy prevails among the clergy and laity of Connecticut, and this Diocese is at present more flourishing than at any former period.

III. New York. The report presented to the General Convention in 1820, states the progress of the Church in this Diocese. The number of organized congregations is 118 (an increase of three since the year 1817) and the number of the Clergy is seventy-one, twenty-four of whom had been ordained Deacons, and fourteen Priests. Five new Churches have been consecrated.

"No small share of the prosperity of this diocese is to be ascribed to missionary services. The number of labourers at present engaged in them is fifteen. The peculiar situation of the immense portion of the diocese, formed by the western district of the State, renders these services indispensable, and should excite our brethren in New York to increasing exertions in their support; while the similarity of cases between that section of their State and the new States and territories of our Union, should command for these services, as intimately connected with the duty of extending missionary labours to the latter, the approbation of the Church generally.

It is proper that we here notice the efforts made by our brethren of this diocese, for the religious instruction of the Indians, within the borders of their State. The Oneida tribe have now a handsome and commodious church, and are still enjoying the faithful services of their licensed catechist and lay-reader, Mr. Eleasar Williams, who is himself of Indian extraction, and a candidate for holy orders. He leads their devotion in their church, by the use of a translation of our liturgy into the Mohawk language; in which they join with every appearance of devout attention, and with the full effect of proper participation. A young Indian of the Onondaga tribe, son of a chief, who was killed in the service of the United States, during the last war, is now making suitable preparation for devoting ardent piety, great zeal, and natural talents of a most respectable order, to the work of the ministry among his countrymen. "The congregation of this diocese receive frequent visits from the bishop. The clergy are generally distinguished for conscientious observance of the canons and rubrics of the Church. The laity, in conjunction with their pastors, have formed numerous associations for distributing the Holy Bible, the book of Common Prayer, and other approved religious books and tracts; for aiding the ecclesiastical authority in the support of missionaries; and for the

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interesting and inestimable charity of Sunday school instruction." Journal of General Convention, 1820, p. 30.

IV. New Jersey. From the Journal of the thirty-eighth Annual Convention, held August 21 and 22, 1821, it appears that there are now within this Diocese, fourteen Clergymen, viz. the Bishop, ten Presbyters, and three Deacons ; and that there are Twenty-five congregations, (besides the few Episcopalians scattered in Amwell, Woodbury, and some other towns,) fifteen of whom enjoy the stated ministrations of Clergymen. The rest are kept alive by the occasional visits of Missionaries, and by the practice of having the service of the Church, and also a sermon, read regularly every Sunday, by some pious and respectable member of these little flocks. We notice this fact with peculiar pleasure, because it affords a striking proof that the Liturgy constantly used will preserve the Church in the worst of times. This indeed has been strikingly evinced in the State of New Jersey, originally settled by the Swedes and Dutch, and, when it became an English province, inhabited chiefly by Quakers and Baptists, it was not until the year 1704, that any congregation existed there in communion with the Church of England. When the revolutionary war commenced, a few scattered congregations had been formed under six or seven Missionaries, sent over by the venerable SOCIETY FOR PROPAGATING the Gospel. That event operated there as it did in every other part of America. The connexion of the Church of England with the State, led to the persecution of the flocks, and the dispersion of the shepherds. The destitute congregations, (like sickly hot-house plants) withered under the united and chilling influences of desertion, poverty, and reproach. In this condition they continued to preserve a faint and tremuJous life, even till the present time. The first Bishop of New Jersey, was consecrated in 1815, at which time there were barely sufficient Clergymen in the Diocese, to constitute the canonical number of electors. Compared with this state of things, the progress of the Church has been rapid, though it has consisted principally in the revival of decayed and destitute congregations.

V. Pennsylvania. Over this Diocese presides the venerable Bishop White, the survivor of the two who were consecrated in 1787*, at Lambeth, and who is now the senior Bishop of the American Episcopal Church. Thirty Clergymen have the care of the Churches in this Diocese. Since

See Brit. Crit, vol. xiii. p. 60%. Old Series.

VOL. XVII, MAY, 1822.


the Convention of 1817, five new Churches have been consecrated; the foundations of three others have been laid; and, between 1817 and 1820, the Bishop ordained sixteen Deacons and nine Priests; and, in the year, ending in May, 1821, one Deacon, and four Presbyters were ordained. The interest of religion is increasing in this State, where there is a Prayer Book Society in full operation, which however has been obliged to suspend its gratuitous distribution, and to limit its exertions to the sale of the book at a very low price. The Sunday Schools, and Female Tract Society, continue to flourish the Missionary Society of this Diocese has been dormant, in the expectation of being merged in the General Missionary Society, which has recently been established under the authority of the General Convention: and, although the Society for the advancement of Christianity has suffered from the pressure of the times, yet it has exerted itself to the extent of its resources.

The Churches in the State of Delaware are under the superintendence of Bishop White, and are recovering from the low state in which they were at the General Convention of 1817. According to the Report, presented in 1820, there are four officiating Clergymen, fourteen Churches, and about 200 Communicants. Several of the congregations have made considerable exertions to repair their places of worship.

VI. Maryland. The Diocese of this State consists of the Bishop, thirty-eight Presbyters, ten Deacons, and sixty-one parishes, several of which contain one or more Chapels of Ease. In consequence of defective returns from many of the parishes, the reports of communicants, baptisms, marriages and funerals cannot be accurately ascertained: but our readers will learn with pleasure that in this State, the Church is upon the whole, improving in numbers of intelligent members, whose devout and exemplary conduct has not only caused the principles of the Church to be better understood than formerly, but has also removed prejudices which were once entertained against it.

VII. Virginia. Though an Annual Convention of this Diocese was held in 1821, yet as no particulars respecting the increase of the Church have been communicated to us, a notice of its actual state must be drawn from the Report made to the General Convention of 1820. A considerable number of new congregations has been formed, and the various religious societies formed in this State by the Members of the Church, are flourishing.

"The number of regular congregations is about fifty, and of officiating ministers thirty. The most delightful unity prevails

amongst the ministers. A strong attachment binds them and their congregations together. The conduct of communicants is becoming more and more serious and consistent; and very few are now to be found, who bring reproach upon Religion and the Church by immoralities, or an attendance upon the vain and sinful amusements of the world. The services of the Church are more punctually and zealously observed, and promise to be esteemed in propor tion as they are duly understood. The ordinance of baptism especially, which has hitherto been so neglected, or lightly and prophanely performed, begins to excite the more serious attention of the clergy and laity; whereas the directions of the rubric enjoin the most public and solemn performance of it, where the prayers of the whole congregation may be obtained, it has been too customary, either through a false modesty or irreligious indifference, to prevail upon ministers to disobey the rubric, and let down the ordinance to a mere private ceremony, which has often been accompanied with unbecoming frivolity and mirth. The impiety of such a proceeding now appears in its true colours; and a reformation has already begun and considerably advanced, which, it is hoped, will be aided and supported by the general voice of the Church.". Journal of General Convention, 1820, p. 35.

The state of North Carolina is placed under the episcopal care of Dr. Moore, the Bishop of Virginia. The favourable prospects which began to dawn in 1817, have been realized. A few years ago the number of persons in communion with the Church in this State did not exceed fifty; in 1821 it amounted to 332 (which is certainly not the total number, as some churches had not made a report.) There has been an increase of congregations, and the clergy of the diocese amount to ten. Six persons have in this state been ordained deacons, and two priests. A circumstance peculiarly gratifying to the Christian is, that the Lutheran Church in this State has made overtures of union with the Protestant Episcopal Church; a Lutheran minister has been ordained deacon and priest; and in all probability before this time the good work of union has been completed.

VIII. South Carolina. This diocese has been deeply afflicted since the general convention of 1817, by the loss (among other exemplary divines) of its Bishop, the Right Rev. Dr. Dehon, two volumes of whose valuable sermons have lately been reprinted in this country, of which we hope ere long to present an account to our readers. The episcopal office, however, was not suffered to remain long vacant; but has happily been filled by the election of the Rev. Dr. Bowen, in February, 1818, who appears, from an address of his clergy, to possess their thorough confidence and affection. From the recent appointment of this eminent divine

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